For more than 12 years, Olga Urbita had a difficult time smiling. She had spent more than a decade suffering from uncontrolled diabetes, had triple bypass surgery at only 35 years old, was overweight, experienced hypertension, and was a daily cigarette smoker. One year and nearly $70,000 worth of dental work, all done pro bono, later Urbita has a whole new outlook on life. “It feels great to smile,” said Urbita. “Sometimes I forget that I have a new set of teeth and I still think I have to hold back and cover my mouth.”
Urbita, 47, a lifelong Miami resident and full-time legal assistant, lost many of her teeth and suffered from advanced periodontal disease due to years of dental neglect. “I’ve lived my whole life in pure fear of visiting a dentist,” said Urbita. “My blood pressure would go up and I felt I was going to die before I could even sit in the chair.” In 2013, Urbita decided it was time to take back control of her health. She started by doing research online but did not find the help she was looking for. “I couldn’t find a dentist that would sedate me to have the treatment done, and a lot of doctors weren’t willing to help me financially,” said Urbita. She eventually found Dr. William P. Lamas, a native Miami periodontist and dental implant specialist who practices alongside Dr. John Paul Gallardo at Gallardo & Lamas Periodontics and Implant Dentistry in Miami.
“We are at a point in our careers where we’ve created purpose in our selves by giving back with a sense of gratitude that goes beyond any monetary value,” said Gallardo, who established the practice in 1994. Lamas, who has treated thousands of patients with extreme fear of the dentist, said Urbita was financially struggling and exhibiting dental anxiety when she visited the office for an evaluation in 2014. The mother of one had dental infections that were contributing to her overall poor health and affecting her quality of life, and Lamas felt he could help. “We do this type of work for very special people that just need a little help in this life,” said Lamas. “A person like this deserves help so she continues to work on her health and well-being.” Lamas said his dental evaluation showed her teeth needed to be removed and replaced with dental implants. All teeth were decayed and broken beyond repair. “I saw teeth that had been neglected for years and her oral infections were associated with her other systemic diseases,” said Lamas. “Not to mention her inability to smile which caused her stress.”
The day of the surgery, Lamas removed a total of 18 teeth, which took much of the infection with them. The gum tissue was cleaned and the jaw bone was repaired to hold the new dental implants in place. Lamas then surgically placed six dental implants in the top arch and four dental implants in the bottom arch, and made a hybrid denture that screw into the implants. The procedure took 8 hours to complete with a team of more than 7 dental professionals. “Over a year later and we are just finishing,” said Lamas. “The more neglect you give your teeth, the longer the healing process.” Despite Urbita’s previous anxiety and fear of the dentist, she is now committed to taking good care of her new teeth. “I could thank him and the whole staff from the bottom of my heart. It was an experience I will never forget,” she said. “I cry sometimes thinking about how this office has changed my life.”
Dr. Gallardo and Dr. Lamas Periodontics and Implant Dentistry are located at 2020 SW 27th Ave Miami, FL 33145 | 305-547-8687 , http://www.miamiperio.com/about-us/our-staff